By TONY PALME
LIFE for hundreds of people living on the banks of the Minj River in South Waghi, Jiwaka, has been in shambles since flood struck on Wednesday.
Heavy rain on New Year’s day caused landslides that blocked the river and sent water gushing over the banks to take over the life of families, their houses and even their gardens.
“Fortunately, no one died but people have been traumatised because their only gardens along the river banks have been washed away,” says Rebecca Suak, a mother who was nearly washed away in her house by the floods.
“All my peanut, corn, kaukau and greens garden is gone. This is the only plot of land that we’ve relied on.”
Donump Tumun said his new bean plots on the other side of the river that would have assisted him to raise school fees for his children were wiped out.
Reynolds Ger, a young educated man was lucky that his permanent house was not affected, but all his trees and flowers were washed away.
“There are other families upstream and downstream that lost their bananas, coffee trees, gum trees, toilets, houses and pig houses,” he said.
“This is our only dwelling area. Our water sources have been displaced and polluted. We are suffering and need clean water to cook and drink.
“The main river is milky brown and it’s not safe.
“As long as dumping from landslides upstream happen, we will continue to suffer.”
Konumbka community leader John Tumun said they were collecting all necessary information from affected families.
“We are in desperate need for relief assistance,” he said.
“We call on the disaster authorities in the province and the National Disaster Centre, our local MPs and the provincial government to help us.”
By TONY PALME